Friday, November 4, 2011

Nourishing an Occupation 5: Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Are you cooking for an Occupation? I'm looking for guest bloggers to write about their experiences of the Occupy movement and their food. Please contact me here (note: this link will take you to another website)

Occupy Poughkeepsie Encampment 11/3/11
This week, I only cooked for Occupy Poughkeepsie one time, because other people in our 'Moms & Dad's' group shared cooking duties and covered other nights. This week, I prepared and served a vegan split pea soup that I wrote about in an earlier blog post and a pumpkin bread pudding that turned out so delicious and smelled so good that it seemed to disappear almost as soon as it appeared.

I decided to make a bread pudding because there was a large quantity of donated bread at the encampment and I wanted to make something that would use it up before it spoiled. Since the bread already wasn't vegan and I didn't know how to make a vegan bread pudding (though I'm sure it can be done), I made this dish vegetarian, but it does contain egg and dairy.

I started by taking 2 loaves of bread, one white and one wheat and tearing them into rough pieces into a large baking dish. I scattered a handful of raisins over the bread and fluffed and mixed everything together with my hands.

A few weeks ago, I roasted a large 'Long Island Cheese' variety pumpkin in the oven, scooped out the flesh and mashed it. This I froze in containers for future uses like this dish. In a large mixing bowl, I put 4 cups of pureed pumpkin. I added 8 small eggs. I get my eggs from a farmers market and this particular batch of eggs were small. If you have regular large eggs, I'd say use 6. I added 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp nutmeg, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt and about 1.5 cups of half and half and beat this together until smooth.

I poured the pumpkin/egg mixture over the bread and gently mixed it in until every piece of bread was sopping in pumpkin goodness.

The whole pan went into the oven at 375F. I wasn't sure how long to cook it, so I checked on it every so often. After about an hour, I judged it was done because a knife inserted into the center came out clean. The smell was beyond heavenly.

After removing it from the oven, I covered the top with aluminum foil, wrapped the whole dish in a blanket, and drove it directly to Occupy Poughkeepsie in Hulme Park. When I arrived at the park, I opened the hatch of my car and the aroma immediately attracted a trio of Occupiers to help carry the food down to the camp. It was a cold night and even though the soup was also popular, most people there, including me, ate dessert first - and who can blame us?

1 comment:

  1. sounds wonderful!! As the old saying goes, "life is uncertain--eat dessert first." I am always on the look-out for new, interesting desserts that don't require nuts, because even though I enjoy them, I have one nut-allergic daughter, and she has many friends who are the same! Plus, I'm finding it is just a good idea to leave them out. Take care, Mia